LightSwitch Development Environment


For the latest documentation on Visual Studio 2017, see Visual Studio 2017 Documentation.

You create a LightSwitch application by using the Visual Studio LightSwitch IDE (Integrated Development Environment). If you are familiar with Visual Studio, you will recognize some parts of the IDE, but other parts might seem unfamiliar. This topic provides an introduction to the LightSwitch IDE.

The main part of the IDE consists of designers or windows that correspond to various development tasks; they appear or disappear as you switch among tasks. By using tool windows that appear to the right of the main window, you can navigate among designers, set properties for designers, and more. Following are some of the designers and windows that you will use the most:

  • LightSwitch Designer

    The LightSwitch designer appears when you create a project. It contains links that you can use to connect to an existing database or to create new tables in the application database.

    LightSwitch Home screen

  • Solution Explorer

    Solution Explorer contains a list of all items in your project. It is used to navigate among the designer windows, and is divided into sections that correspond to data items, screens, and application properties. By default, Solution Explorer is always visible.

    Solution Explorer

  • Data Designer

    The Data Designer, also known as the Table Designer, is where you work with the data for your application. The Data Designer can be opened by double-clicking a data sources node in Solution Explorer.

    LightSwitch Data Designer

  • Screen Designer

    The Screen Designer is where you create the user interface for your application. The Screen Designer can be opened by double-clicking a screen node in Solution Explorer.

    The screen layout

  • Query Designer

    The Query Designer is where you create queries to filter and sort application data. Queries can be used as the basis for new screens, or to modify the contents of an existing screen. The Query Designer can be opened from the Project menu when a data sources node is selected in Solution Explorer.

    LightSwitch Query Designer

  • Properties Window

    The Properties window is where you set properties for items in the active designer. The properties that are available vary depending on the current context. By default, the Properties window is always visible.

    LightSwitch Properties window

  • Code Editor

    The Code Editor is where you write code for your application. A separate Code Editor instance is opened for each item in the application that contains user code. Unlike the designer windows, these windows remain open until you choose to close them. The Code Editor can be opened from the Project menu when a screen or entity is selected in Solution Explorer. It can also be opened from many of the designers.

    LightSwitch Code Editor

  • Application Designer

    The Application Designer is where you manage the settings and properties that define the appearance and behavior of your application. It includes tabs for General Properties, Extensions, Screen Navigation, Access Control, and Application Type. The Application Designer can be opened from the Properties node in Solution Explorer.

    LightSwitch Application designer

LightSwitch Guided TourProvides lessons that cover many capabilities of LightSwitch.
Debugging Tools in LightSwitchProvides an introduction to various IDE elements that are related to debugging applications.

Getting Started with LightSwitch